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Attorney-General

crown, solicitor-general and government

ATTORNEY-GENERAL is the name given to the chief ministerial officer of the Crown, to which he stands in the same relation as any other attorney or solicitor does to his client. He is legal adviser of the Crown, the Ministry, and the departments of the Government; a member of the Ministry, though never of the Cabinet. The term " General " was affixed to his designation in order, probably, to distinguish him from special attorneys of the Crown, as, for example, the Master of the Crown Office, whose official style is " Coroner and Attorney for the King." The office is one of great dignity and importance, and is filled by barristers of the highest eminence in their profession. The chief duties of the Attorney-General are, in additio'h to the advisory ones above mentioned: To exhibit informations and conduct prose cutions on behalf of the Government for high offences against the good order of the State ; to conduct all suits and prosecutions relating public revenue ; to institute and conduct suits for the protection of charitable endowments ; and generally to appear in all legal proceedings and in all Courts where the interest of eie Crown are in question. The Attorney-General has place and

audience at the head of the English Bar, and as such is absolute arbiter in all questions of etiquette and rights which may be in question amongst members of that branch of the legal profession. In practice, however, questions of professional etiquette and rights are now dealt with by the Bar Council. Originally he was paid by salary and fees, and was allowed to take private practice. At present, however, the arrangement between the Attorney-General and the Government is that whilst holding office he shall resign private practice. His salary and fees amount to about 17,000 per annum. He is assisted by a Solicitor-General. In Scotland and Ireland the similar law officers of the Crown are : the Lord-Advocate and Solicitor-General for Scotland, and the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General for Ireland.